Season 4 Episode 18: Conflict: Stickers vs. Tattoos

S4E18 - Conflict: Stickers vs. Tattoos
S4E18 – Conflict: Stickers vs. Tattoos

How do we shift into a culture in which conflict and difference is generative? Jason Barger highlights language from Adrienne Marie Brown’s book Emergent Strategy and shares an image for leading change:  stickers vs. tattoos.

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1:47 – Jason introduces Season 4 episode 18 of the podcast. Welcome back to the podcast on corporate culture and leadership and thank you for listening. We engage thought leaders like CEOs, CFOs, managers, VPs, directors, and more for this podcast. We wish to create content that engages your mind and heart and allows you to step back and think and add some positivity to your life. This podcast is about how we can shift into a culture in which conflict and difference is generative.

2:30 – Please leave a review for the podcast

3:05 – We can’t control everything but what we can control is our response. Still a lot of work to do but wanted to remind the audience what is within our control is the temperature we create in the organizations and teams we work with. If you have a suggestion, please send to

3:38 – Jason had a recent virtual book discussion group from leaders all over the world and today Jason talks about the robust conversation from the book Emergent Strategy from Maree Brown.

4:24 – How do we shift into a culture in which conflict and difference is generative? There will always be conflict and difference but how we approach conflict and difference will impact the culture that we create together.

How do we shift into a culture in which conflict and difference is generative? 

6:25 – Jason leads a discussion on the conflicts facing us in the nation and world and how this leads to differences all around us. Conversations are the currency for change. The conversations aren’t always easy but they are needed. Communication can get lost in translation, in teams, we have different opinions and can create tension as the message gets lost or morphed along the way. How can we move forward? Jason talks about the book discussion from here.

10:05 – Dr. Melissa Krum spoke in the book discussion about issues of racism and inclusion and because of the tension and conflict formed due to the hurtful language or misspoken words. Not using words in the right context can derail the conversations even more too. The powerful image she used was to show and provide empathy and to use the conflict as a teachable moment to move us forward. Often when people can use the wrong terms many people will be quick to jump and label people sometimes too quickly as these are complex topics that require patience and understanding and listening.

As leaders, we need more of a sticker approach rather than a tattoo. Instead of labeling people so fast we should not label them with a tattoo that cannot be removed we need to treat it like a sticker. Meaning we acknowledge it but we take off the sticker and move forward together.

18:34 – Language can shift us into a place where conflict is generative. Leaders in the midst of compelling team cultures are setting a temperature that helps us move forward together. They can help us identify stickers that need to be removed. We can’t solve a huge thing like racism but we can be part of positive solutions.

Questions to ponder:

  1. What situations need a sticker approach rather than a tattoo approach in your life and work?
  2. How can your culture use conflict to be generative?
  3. What are your next conversations that are the currency for change?

Remember, the best cultures and teams everywhere stimulate progress by recalibrating their thermostat of why they are doing it, where they want to go, the values they commit to. They anchor it by the strategy and temperature they set along the way.

If you like the podcast, have a question, or just want to share your thoughts about daring to begin please leave a comment below or please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.


Conversations and micro-thoughts to engage your mind and heart.

A thermostat is proactive. It sets the temperature in a room. Controls the temperature. Regulates the temperature. But in today’s distracted, fast-paced and digital world, it’s easy for individuals and organizations to act more like thermometers, slipping into reactionary thinking, becoming scattered and inconsistent. The most compelling leaders, teams, organizations, families or collection of humans of any kind operate in thermostat mode. They calibrate their mind and heart to set the temperature for the vision and culture they want to create. Jason Barger, globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, is the host of The Thermostat, a podcast journey to discover authentic leadership, create compelling cultures and find clarity of mission, vision, and values.